One of the biggest long-term health risks for truckers is the reality that it's not always easy for them to get a good night's sleep. In fact, this isn't just a health issue, but a general safety concern because when professional drivers aren't well-rested, they may be at significantly greater risk for an accident or other mishap on the road.
If you're concerned about your ability to sleep through the night, or simply get to sleep as quickly as possible, here are six tips that should help:
1) Park where it's as quiet as possible
As you might expect, any sleeping place where you're frequently being awoken by loud noises is not an ideal parking spot to try to get your 40 winks, according to Apex Capital Corp. If you have the ability, pulling off to a side street where you'll be safe to park your truck and away from noise is a great idea. And if not, you might be wise to invest in earplugs or white noise machines that help drown out the big noises that would otherwise wake you up.
2) Block out the light
Along similar lines, if you're parking in places where there's bright light, that's not conducive to sleep, Apex advised. Taking the time to install blackout curtains in your sleeper berth or even just an eye mask will help you fall asleep more quickly and stay that way.
3) Try to sleep at night
Many truckers prefer to drive at night simply because the nation's highways and byways are far more likely to have little to no traffic, according to the Sleep Help Institute. However, that means you will have to sleep more during the day, when traffic is more active and both light and noise are much stronger disruptions. It might be more advisable to grab a quick nap during the day but still plan for longer sleep overnight.
4) Get plenty of sleep in your off time
If you're gearing up for a long drive, it's usually a good idea to get a good night's sleep the night before, the Sleep Help Institute cautioned. With as much rest as possible saved up, you get the ability to drive for longer initially, and it should also be easier to fall asleep the next night as well.
5) Keep the temperature low
A great way to fall asleep more quickly - whether you're in your truck or at home - is to lie down when the temperature is cool, but not cold, according to Signal Connect. This will help your body understand that it's time to relax and make it easier for you to slip into sleep.
6) Talk to a health care professional
If your struggles to fall asleep initially or stay that way over the course of a night persist, it's important to talk to a doctor or other care provider about the issue, Signal Connect advised. They may be able to help you better identify the cause of your issues and help you address them through medical or behavioral means.
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